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Serena Williams’ VC Fund invested in 14 companies with a valuation of $1 billion

Serena Williams, known for her unparalleled success on the tennis court, has also established herself as a force in the investment world. Demonstrating her keen eye for promising startups leading to significant success. After retiring from tennis in September 2022, Williams shifted her focus to venture capital, founding Serena Ventures in 2014 to support women and underrepresented founders.

“I learned that less than 2 percent of all VC money went to women,” Williams said in a TikTok video. “And when I first heard that, I actually thought it was a misquote. I thought, ‘Well, they can’t be real.’ Like, we’re talking about trillions of dollars, and what do you mean less than 2 percent of that goes to women?…I learned that when I first started investing, I learned that actually was true and that was something that was happening. And so I knew right then and there that one day I wanted to raise a fund or raise money and invest in women.”

The tennis legend added, “I also learned that even less went to people of color. So I thought, ‘My goodness. I’m a Black woman and say my name isn’t Serena Williams, or I hadn’t had a career, that means I would have less than, well, not even less than 2%, a fraction of a chance to get money if I wanted to start a company.’”

Motivated by the glaring lack of venture capital directed towards certain demographics, Williams embarked on a mission to effect change.

Serena Ventures boasts an impressive portfolio, with 79 percent of its founders being underrepresented, including 54 percent women, 47 percent Black, and 11 percent Latino. Williams’ commitment to leveling the playing field is evident in her dedication to investing in marginalized entrepreneurs.

With over 85 companies in her investment portfolio, Williams has played a pivotal role in nurturing startups across various sectors. Notable investments include healthcare startup HUED and Parfait, an AI-powered platform for customizable wig products, both founded by Black women.

Her investment in edtech startup MasterClass, valued at $2.75 billion in 2021, further showcases her knack for identifying promising ventures in their early stages.

“I remember finding that company with like eight people in a small room in a garage in San Francisco. And I just fell in love with what they were doing and what they were building,” she explained on TikTok.

Serena Venture’s investments have helped propel 14 companies to unicorn status, a significant milestone in the startup world. These unicorn companies have reached a value of $1 billion or more.

From plant-based meat substitute company Impossible Foods to subscription-based weight-loss app Noom, Williams’s investments have catalyzed growth and success for these trailblazing companies.

According to Fortune, enterprises that attain unicorn status are deemed as “innovative or disruptive” and are anticipated to experience rapid growth.

According to the source, notable unicorns include rideshare giant Uber, vacation rental platform Airbnb, and social media hub Pinterest, among others.

The investment in each of the 14 companies by Williams has cultivated a major achievement. With this financial backing, they are poised to broaden their horizons and further expand on their mission and goals.

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